Recently, I’ve been told that I’m always eating and I like food too much; I tried to deny it at first but I don’t see the point anymore. I do love food and I am always eating whenever I can. Which is definitely why the Amsterdam Food Tour on day 3 of Amsterdam was my absolute favorite part of my trip hands down! If you are ever in Amsterdam, a Food Tour is a must do! And not just any food tour, but this specific one by Hungry Birds.
As my love for food developed, so did my belief that food is a great way to experience other cultures, there’s just so much of it out there! Which is why I went searching for a food tour. I came across quite a few, but Hungry Birds just seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, from their website: We are a young travel company that creates street food adventures. Simply put, we bring Amsterdam to the world through discovering it’s street food, culture & daily life in a more open, casual & creative way. We believe in the universal language of enjoying (street) food, stories, culture and a good time.
Meet Zosia, the best tour guide ever; we got hugs when we met her and spending a day with her learning about little bits of Amsterdam was really an awesome way to spend our last day.
Here’s our Amsterdam Food Tour group, they were also awesome! I mean, after our second stop it was like we were spending days with friends, and I want to tell you all I learned about them, but I didn’t get their permission, so I won’t.
One of the things I loved about the food tour, other than the food, is that pretty much every location we went to has a rich history and story behind it, which made it a really well rounded experience. Now let’s go through our food locations, however, because I want you to do this food tour if you’re ever in Amsterdam, I’m only going to share my favorite stops. If you want the total scoop, you’re going to have to visit Amsterdam and sign up for a food tour! Our first stop was an Indonesian food shop called Toko where we had something that reminded me of a Nigerian meatpie and bacon cake that has absolutely nothing to do with bacon; both delicious. Then we went to yoghurt barn, a little yoghurt shop in a super cute part of Amsterdam where we had yoghurt and raspberries. After yoghurt, we headed over to Tjin’s.
Tjin’s is Amsterdam’s local international food shop. This shop is currently run by brothers and was started by their father a while ago. It’s a store at the back and a food counter in front, all their ingredients are sourced fresh. Here we had a sandwich and I can’t remember it’s name, but the Americans in the group referred to it as a Chicken sloppy jo; it was yummy!
When we were done we walked to the market and stopped by a fish place. I forgot to take a picture of the name of the location, but this was where we sat and took that group picture above. So, the founder of this fish stop was the first person to sell fish in Amsterdam way back when. He had a bicycle that had a wooden carriage in front, so think a wheel barrow in bicycle form. He would fill the barrow with ice and go fishing, he would then place his catches of the day on the barrow and go around ringing a bell to let people know the fish guy was around. Today, they are known for having the best and freshest fish in Amsterdam.
We were then told that the typical way to eat this small fish, and I can’t remember its name now, is whole while holding it by the tail over your mouth. When asked if anyone want to try it, Ebun and I were the only ones willing to give it a shot I mean, how could I say no to “typical Dutch”? Lol. It was a great experience. Click smaller pictures for carousel with commentary.
After fish, we walked deeper into the market and stopped by my second favorite place of the experience: poffertjes pronounced poh-feh-ches. Little slices of heaven. They’re mini pancakes doused in butter and powdered sugar; Happiness.
Next up, still in the market, stroppwaffles pronounced sh-troop-vaffles. Thinly sliced waffles with a layer of caramel in the middle. This stop also has a great story.
This guy’s great grandfather, used to work somewhere (I don’t remember now) and he took a break and went on vacation to another European country. While there, he met this farmer who made stroopwaffles; he really like them and asked the guy to give him his recipe so he could come back to Amsterdam and sell them. The guy was like “no, why would I give you my recipe for free?” So his GGF asked again and then the farmer said “You know what, if you stay with me and work for free for one year, I’ll give you the recipe cause I’ll know you’re really passionate about this.” and he stayed! After a year he returned to Amsterdam and set up shop in this same stall that this guy works at today.
Once our collective sweettooths were satisfied, we walked deeper into the market and went into a secret garden. However, seeing as it’s a secret garden, I’m not going to share what happened in here :D, but here’s sneak peek of what it looked like.
The secret garden also has a rich history and was located behind a cute antique shop. After the garden, we left the market and went to a chees shop where I had more cheese than I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not a big cheese person but I absolutely loved the goat cheese with fid marmalade. More happiness.
Once we were done being cheesy, we went and had the best home fries in Amsterdam. They have over 30 (I think) sauces but are known particularly for one called oorlog meaning war in English because it’s white mayo combined with brown peanut sauce. And apparently, back when it was first established, the powers that be tried to make them change the name of the sauce cause of the controversial nature (I believe this was during one of the war periods back then), but the customers kept calling it oorlog, so that never changed. Hahaha.
While eating our fries, we walked through a great book market and the Begijnhof, and arrived at my favorite place of the tour – Van Stapele Koekmakerij. Not only did this location have my favorite food of the day, it also had my favorite story.
So, Vera was studying psychology when she went on vacation one year, to London. While in London, she had Ben’s cookies and loved them; so when she came back home she started trying to recreate the cookies. She tried loads of recipes and failed many times before she finally discovered one she liked. Vera baked the cookes for herself, and family and friends and everyone loved it. They loved it so much they said to her “Vera, you have to sell these!”. Upon completion of her psychology degree, she opened a little shop in Amsterdam where no all she does is sell this one chocolate cookie, day in, day out. People have said to her she needs to make something else, open a bigger shop, sell online, but Vera is simply happy with what she has right now. During the week, she gets about 460 customers daily and on weekends, about 700. She’s been open only a year and a half and believes she’s probably sold approximately 200,000 cookies. There are lines outside her shop almost constantly and she’s content. The cookie is chocolate dough formed into a ball and topped with a piece of white chocolate. While in the oven, the white chocolate melts and the dough rises to cover the white chocolate perfectly.
When we got to her shop, there was a line outside the door. What struck was the precision of her process. There was one other woman there helping Vera, and I watched her weigh out the dough for one cookie. She kept removing and adding till she got the perfect weight, when asked, she said she needs the scale for precision but Vera can probably tell you a cookie is off by looking at it. And then, when I decided to order a box of cookies to go, she was about to pack it when she looked at her timer and told me they weren’t ready. She asked me to come back in 3 minutes from my box; there’s a designated cooling down period that she honors at all times.
This cookie is honestly the best cookie I’ve ever had. From Vera’s place, we went across the street to our final and only drink stop of the day. I don’t remember the name of our drink but we were offered it or the option of tea or coffee. But because we were told it was a typical Dutch drink, I opted for it. Bleh. I shouldn’t have. Lol. I’m not a liquor fan and this tasted like whiskey. I took a couple of sips and then set it aside. It was pretty to look at though!
After our Amsterdam Food Tour, we went back to the market to buy some scarves and souvenirs.
We then attempted to go to the Anne Frank House, but that line said No. So, we hopped on a tram to Magnum Amsterdam.
Once we had our fill of food for the day, we walked through the Red Light District and then took some pictures on the way back cause it was our first night out at night during the trip. Amsterdam is equally beautiful at night.
I had such a wonderful time being a total tourist, I’m so grateful for the experience and proud of myself for actually working towards it. I’m savoring the memories while hoping for another adventure soon! Due to the length of each post and the series, I haven’t shared our experience with the art project mention in day 2 of Amsterdam. If you’re interested in hearing about it in detail and want pictures, drop a comment or an email and I’ll share about that experience.